Why It Matters

April 08, 2014

We have each found meaning in the days we spend at sea. For some, fishing means family, for others, a simple and naturally rewarding lifestyle. We find pleasure in small comforts while fishing that we sometimes forget to appreciate in our land lives -- a real shower, a clean shirt, fresh fruit. To all of us, fishing is crucial to who we are and how we define ourselves. Below, a few Salmon Sisters speak about why sustainable fisheries are important to them.   Stickland   "Alaska's sustainable fisheries are important to me because they're what my husband and I have built our lives around. Not only does fishing comprise a large chunk of our livelihood, but it's where we come together every summer, sharing sweat, blood and tears. There's nothing like working alongside your loved ones out in nature to make a living, catching the wild fish that will feed you and many other people. It's an amazing experience, and also an amazing resource that shouldn't be squandered or destroyed--rather, it should be fiercely protected." - AdriAnne Strickland, 29-year-old fisherwomen (and published young adult fiction writer!) based out of Egegik on the F/V Catch 22. Photo credit goes to AdriAnne's husband, photographer Lukas Strickland. AdriAnne sits on the bow, beneath the sign.   photos   "Sustainable fisheries are important to our family whose 4 generations have setnet on Salamatof Beach in Cook Inlet since the early 1900's. Fishing together as a family, with my children and my parents (now in their 70's) brings us to the beach each summer where we continue to pride ourselves on hard work, little sleep and dedication to feed the world a nutritious protein." - Sarah Hudkins, pictured with her family from left to right: Trenton, Sarah, Shayla, Gavin, Jason and their furry pup Fisher.   marissa wilson   "Fishing, for me, has evolved to be much more than working hard and earning a paycheck; it has become both my teacher and my church. Full of challenges and unknowns, being on the water has taught me the importance of self-reliance, integrity, and community, among a vast number of things. It's not something I clock out from at the end of the day; these lessons are ingrained in my being and strengthened with practice. Numb hands and hot coffee keep me learning. This is what people mean when they emphasize the significance of fishing as a lifestyle. Despite my feeble attempts to find something less "risky" to do with my life, the ocean keeps calling. I return, not in search of answers, but to remind myself of what it means to be present; what it takes to produce a thing of beauty from the depths of the unknown. I am passionate about keeping the fisheries sustainable not because I fear for my wallet, it's because I want to share these lessons - and these beautiful fish - with those souls who will take over running things long after I'm gone. My wisdom will fade. The environment that teaches these lessons cannot." - Marissa Wilson

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